My nephew recently went for his first confession to a priest. This was a big deal. After spending a few minutes with the priest, he came out and met his religious education teacher. This is the conversation as recorded by my sister:
Teacher: “Do your penance and then you can enjoy some refreshments.”Nate: “Penance? What penance?”Teacher: “The penance the priest gave you.”Nate: “He didn’t give me one.”Teacher: “Wow. Then you must be a very good boy.”Me: “Hold up, Nate. What do you mean he didn’t give you one? He didn’t say anything about a Hail Mary or Our Father (or do the laundry for a month)?”Nate: “No. I told him my sins and then he said ‘go in peace.'”Me: “Wait. You mean that little red light was lit for 50 years and all he said was ‘go in peace’?”Nate: “Well, he said some words before that, but I don’t remember.”Me: “What do you mean you don’t remember?! You’re supposed to listen to what he says and keep that in your mind and in your heart.”Nate: “Well, I didn’t take a piece of paper in there to write it all down.”Then, I had an epiphany: my poor son has inherited his father’s memory.Me: “Nate, before the priest said ‘go in peace,’ did he say anything about a Hail Mary?”Nate: “Yes, I think I do remember him saying Hail Mary. But I’m pretty sure my penance is to go in peace.”
This is an excerpt of the full story which can be found on my sister’s blog.